Friday, 25 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
"For many teachers sophisticated technology is not a viable choice in their context. Others have chosen not to use technology out of principle. What principle? That language is a social tool and that language learning is best mediated through the direct contact between real human beings." He asked "Are anti-tech teachers "in denial"?"Visit the course and look back on the discussion here. The mere fact that this course took place in Moodle and brought together people from many different countries, including people with little money but great ideas, speaks for itself, wouldn't you say?
Marisa Costanides from Greece commented the wrap up with Neil Postman's "Six questions for every technology":
1 - What is the problem to which this technology is a solution?
2 - Whose problem is it?
3 - What new problems might be created BECAUSE we have solved this problem?
4 - Which people and what institutions might be more seriously harmed by a technological innovation?
5 - What changes in language are being enforced by new technologies and what is being gained and lost by such changes?
6 - What new sources of economic and political power will emerge?
See the Neil Postman talk on YouTube (part 1, with links to the following parts) here.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
What does it have to do with teaching? Do you notice anything new over what was going on last year around this time? Your comments are welcome!
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
1. One size does not fit all - but VLEs tend to homogenize
2. The student/user does not "own" the VLE - but users want to own the tools they use
3. The VLE is conning academics into creating content (not constructivist approach) which creates an unproductive learning model
4. The VLE is not helful for discoursive teaching, it prevents students from discussing with people outside their institution
5. Teachers can do most stuff with outside, free tools
6. The PLE (personal learning environment) is flexible, while the VLE is cumbersome
Martin Weller tweeted: "if a bomb went off in this room, the UK ed tech scene would be wiped out" - and he is one of the ones to have started the whole debate in his blog.
Yet schools and colleges have to deal with not all teachers having the necessary skills in alternative tools, and not all students using social networks like Facebook and Twitter that would make VLEs obsolete for most student work. (Noone seemed to be debating VLEs as a good place for quizzes and tests.) But the feeling was really quite strong that VLEs are more counterproductive than conducive to learning.
- On getting started
- On blogging with students
- On finding inspiration & writing great content
- On the effect it can have on your career
- On stuff to know about
- On audience
- On community
- On commenting
- Why I blog
Monday, 7 September 2009
The keynote speakers are:
Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor Designate at the Open University, UK
Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, USA
Terry Anderson, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University, Canada.http://elluminate.alt.ac.uk/. The events calendar is here: http://altc2009.alt.ac.uk/calendar
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Well, as I've already said, the www is not going to go phut or disappear - you may back up your files on an external disk or USB stick, but external disks cost money whereas these sites don't - well, if you keep the size of the files stored there to between 1 and 50GB (ADrive will let you store and share up to 50GB for free).
If you have a PC and laptop or files that are stored on more than one beast being able to update and sync files can be really useful. Ditto if you work together with other people and need to collaberate on the documents you are putting together. If A updates the document, B automatically sees the latest version without A having to email it to B.
I've just co-authored a book for Longman and whilst we were writing it I uploaded my materials to the Box. Everything was in one place, my co-author could see what I'd written and the editor could access the latest version of the manuscript as well as earlier versions.
I lost about three units and a couple of weeks' work when my hard disk died when I was writing another book, so it was reassuring to know that everything was stored on my PC and the www this time round.
I dare say someone could crack the passwords and get at those materials, but then I dare say someone could also hack my PC if they wanted to, but I don't think the data they'd find there would be worth the time or effort.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
LinguaTV features broadcasts in several languages including English. This web TV station produces language training videos with subtitles and features vocabulary. Users can use professionally produced videos, dictionaries and lessons. Contents licenced by LinguaTV include travel reports and music videos. Interactive exercises allow users to study on their own.
A game-like point system shows how much progress a learner is making and invites learners to compare and compete with each other. The community idea is central to lingorilla.com, and learners are invited to find language learning partners from over 150 countries worldwide and to communicate using the integrated video chat function. Groups can hold virtual meetings here, too, e.g. to get together again following a language course or trip.
Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, German Minister of Education and Research, congratulated LinguaTV, saying, „Ich freue mich, dass LinguaTVs Bildungsangebot die internationale Jury überzeugen und sich gegen die Konkurrenz aus 170 Ländern durchsetzen konnte. Dies ist auch deshalb so herausragend, weil LinguaTV das mit einer kleinen und noch jungen Firma aus eigener Kraft erreicht hat.“
Lingorilla is currently relaunching their platform, which they have announced will be completed in the next few weeks.
I've signed up as http://www.lingorilla.com/eng/users/annehodg. Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Yes, you must have the same kind of students as I do, but I've now bought an electronic dictionary which is a lot lighter than a decent paper dictionary, in fact, the manufacturer claims the number of entries it contains are from paper dictionaries weighing about seven kilos.
I bought myself an upmarket model because I teach a lot of ESP courses and am often confronted with words that my students ask me for, but I've never heard of, e.g. entgraten (deburr) or Ducker (inverted siphon).
I've got a Hexaglot Attaché which costs around €200 (if you shop around for it). It is probably one of the most expensive electronic dictionaries on the market, but it does let me put my own 'dictionary' onto an SD card and I can also download other dictionaries. e.g. English - Portuguese, Portuguese - English onto the SD card which I've found useful for holidays.
If you're a freelance English teacher and running from one company to the next with bags full of heavy books, you might find you can reduce your 'workload' without having to cut down on the number of courses you teach.
Have a look at whether there's a good or free electronic dictionary out there for you.
Btw, I'm happy with my dictionary, but I wouldn't recommend/buy it unless you really do need to translate fairly specialised terms and on a regular basis. There are some really good electronic dictionaries out there that cost a third of what I paid.